Healthy Winter #1: Vitamin D is Key
It’s that time of year again! While we are predicting a drier winter in most of NSW, the longer days, less sunlight and wind chill can put a big damper on motivation to exercise or get outdoors. So is it worth braving the cold? Here are our top 3 reasons to exercise in winter and how you can prepare yourself for exercising in the cold.
Vitamin D is required to help the body absorb calcium from food. Calcium is an essential mineral for bone health and ensures that your heart and nervous system works efficiently. Vitamin D itself is important for regulating calcium levels, cell growth and reducing inflammation. Healthy WA state that 90% of our body’s vitamin D is produced from direct exposure to sunlight. While the amount of sun exposure needed is low, many Australians struggle to reach the required level during winter. Longer exposure times (around midday) according to Cancer Council Australia are recommended. Adults at risk of vitamin D deficiency include:
· Older adults (>65) or adults living with disability especially in low-level and high level residential care
· Adults with darker skin
· Adults with a chronic disease
· Fair-skinned people and those at risk of skin cancer who avoid sun exposure
· Obese people
· People working in an enclosed environment, such as office workers, factory or warehouse workers, taxi drivers, night-shift workers1
So how much sunlight is enough?
Know the signs
The symptoms of Vitamin D are similar to many other conditions, so if you are experiencing some of those mentioned below it is best to talk to your GP about your symptoms. Your GP will run a blood test to determine your levels of vitamin D. Symptoms include:
· Hair loss
· Muscle weakness and/or muscle pain
· Changes in mood
· Thinning or brittle bones
· Poor wound healing
· Feeling sluggish and tired
· Frequently becoming sick
Stay tuned for our next 2 reasons in the series coming soon.
Also, click here to learn more about our popular Winter Wellness Program!